Say it Ain’t So, Joe. (Not the opera I’ve been talking about, more on that later.) But really, the New York Philharmonic is canceling its concerts in the parks this summer? No Fourth of July, no nothing? Well, they are keeping their appearance with Andrea Bocelli, of all things. But here’s why this is a real loss:Unlike museums, which have reinvented themselves as social and educational centers, there are very few things a symphony can do to reach people in laid-back, interactive ways. A concert in the park is about it. While museums can offer children’s art projects and jazz singles nights, most anything an orchestra does in a concert hall involves the audience sitting down and listening up.
Not so under the stars in Central Park, where you might chit chat over La Valse but at least you get to hear some of it. I recall an evening of dancing at the Brooklyn Museum that made me come back to see the art without the crowds. I bet more than one casual listener on their picnic blanket has bought a NYPhil ticket after they’ve gone to a free concert in the park.
Scheduling conflicts, officials say. That’s better than a budget crisis. But in a year of terrible news for orchestras across the country, bagging the whole season except for one crossover concert is, as Bocelli might say, scandaloso.